Tempo Training

Time Under Tension: one of the most important loading parameters

Rep Tempo (Time Under Tension) affects all the others. Speed of contraction is the rate of movement of the involved body parts. It can easily be measured by the amount of time it takes to complete each part of a repetition. Tempo is the total amount of time taken to complete the full repetition.

There are 4 main parts to any movement

  1. Eccentric Contraction: happens when a muscle lengthens under load, generally has a longer time.
    1. These are the downward or lowering of weights in exercises such as squats, push ups or pull ups. These are controlled movements that are associated with greater muscle strengthening than concentric contractions.
    2. The muscles and tendons act to control and slow down the action. You are lowering and controlling the weight rather than simply allowing gravity to do its job.
  2. The Pause in the Stretched Position (i.e. isometric pause): These pauses in “disadvantageous” positions will further boost your strength development as it increases intramuscular tension.
  3. Concentric Contraction: occurs when a muscle shortens, generally has a shorter time.
  4. Pause in the Shortened Position: These pauses in “advantageous” position increase the recruitment of more fast twitch muscle fibers, which provide the most increases in strength and power.

Enjoy greater control of your movements to get faster and greater results in strength and muscle development.
It is important to vary the Tempo of your training to get the best results. It will help to produce impressive strength gains in lesser training sessions. Using Fast/Slow tempo or a variety of isometric holds are great additions to any training program.
For more detailed benefits of Tempo Training, click here.

2 thoughts on “Tempo Training”

    1. Tony,
      There are a lot of variables that need to be considered. First and foremost, the goal of the training program. Slow speed training performed with heavy weights (high intensity) has a definite advantage over high speed lifting. Slowing down the movement increases both the duration of stimulus and levels of tension imposed on the muscle. When we refer to high intensity training, it is specifically related to the amount of resistance in relation to your maximum.
      The human body is an especially adaptive organism that responds to variables in training. Changing variables is how we force the body to adapt. Taking into consideration Tempo is a key variable that will lead to greater gains. So slowing down the movements with greater control and muscle contraction will lead to greater strength gains. Intensity again is not determined by the poundage but by how many muscle fibers are involved.
      For the pushup and other exercises, you can perform isometric holds at various points in the movement. If you are performing for reps, we would generally go with a slower tempo on the negative, a pause at the bottom position and a quick (explosive but controlled) upward movement. This same basic process can be applied to any exercise.

Comments are closed.